Authors publishing repeatedly in predatory journals: An analysis of Scopus articles

Author : Tove Faber Frandsen

Scholars engage with so-called predatory or questionable journals for many different reasons. Among the contributing factors are monetary payoffs and the possibility of fast track faculty positions or promotion.

It has been claimed that fast tracking promotion by using predatory publication outlets is an increasing problem. This study analyses the authors publishing in predatory journals with a focus on authors repeatedly publishing in predatory journals. In this study, a set of so-called predatory journals indexed in Scopus was used.

The data included 243,396 authorships of articles and reviews published from 2004 to 2021 by 169,742 unique authors. This study finds that 55% of the authors publish in one of these journals only once, 34.5% publish 2–5 times in these journals, 6.3% publish in them 6–10 times, and 4.2% publish more than 10 times.

Furthermore, this study finds that the mean and median number of articles and reviews is correlated with the number of articles and reviews in predatory journals. Finally, authors publishing in predatory journals do not confine themselves to these journals and also publish in validated journals as well.

URL : Authors publishing repeatedly in predatory journals: An analysis of Scopus articles


The COVID-19 Pandemic, Academia, Gender, and Beyond: A Review

Author : Pınar E. Dönmez

This article aims to engage critically with the scholarly narratives and the emerging literature on the gender impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in academia. It outlines the key contours and themes in these scholarly discourses and conceptions, acknowledging their richness, depth and strengths especially given the short timespan within which they have developed since 2020.

The article then suggests broadening and historicising the critique advanced by the literature further. In doing so, the hierarchies and vulnerabilities exposed in the academic domain by the pandemic are positioned within a holistic understanding of crisis-ridden characteristics of social relations under capitalism.

URL : The COVID-19 Pandemic, Academia, Gender, and Beyond: A Review


Choosing the ‘right’ journal for publication: Perceptions and practices of pandemic-era early career researchers

Authors : David Nicholas, Eti Herman, David Clark, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Abdullah Abrizah, Anthony Watkinson, Jie Xu, David Sims, Galina Serbina, Marzena Świgoń, Hamid R. Jamali, Carol Tenopir, Suzie Allard

Presents early data from an investigation of the work lives and scholarly communication practices of 177 early career researchers (ECRs) from eight countries. Utilizing mainly coded and textual data from interviews, the paper reports on the findings that pertain to publishing papers in peer reviewed journals.

We examine which factors are taken into account when choosing the journal to publish their research in, identifying similarities/differences by country, age, academic status and discipline. Also, explored is whether the pandemic has changed decision-making. Main findings are that the aim for ECRs is to publish in the ‘best’ journals, variably measured by prestige, impact factor, standards of peer review and indexation.

Appropriateness of audience is the only factor unrelated to the quality of the journal that figures highly among the factors that guide ECRs in the process of selecting a journal.

The pandemic has made little difference to the majority of ECRs when they decide on a journal for publishing their research. However, there is a greater awareness of the need for a faster turnover rate, brought on by the importance accorded to speedy publication during the pandemic.



Negotiating the ethical-political dimensions of research methods: a key competency in mixed methods, inter- and transdisciplinary, and co-production research

Authors : Simon West, Caroline Schill

Methods are often thought of as neutral tools that researchers can pick up and use to learn about a reality ‘out there.’ Motivated by growing recognition of complexity, there have been widespread calls to mix methods, both within and across disciplines, to generate richer scientific understandings and more effective policy interventions.

However, bringing methods together often reveals their tacit, inherently contestable, and sometimes directly opposing assumptions about reality and how it can and should be known.

There are consequently growing efforts to identify the competencies necessary to work with multiple methods effectively. We identify the ability to recognise and negotiate the ethical-political dimensions of research methods as a key competency in mixed methods, inter- and transdisciplinary, and co-production research, particularly for researchers addressing societal challenges in fields like environment, health and education.

We describe these ethical-political dimensions by drawing on our experiences developing an ethics application for a transdisciplinary sustainability science project that brings together the photovoice method and controlled behavioural experiments.

The first dimension is that different methods and methodological approaches generate their own ethical standards guiding interactions between researchers and participants that may contradict each other.

The second is that these differing ethical standards are directly linked to the variable effects that methods have in wider society (both in terms of their enactment in the moment and the knowledge generated), raising more political questions about the kinds of realities that researchers are contributing to through their chosen methods.

We identify the practices that helped us—as two researchers using different methodological approaches—to productively explore these dimensions and enrich our collaborative work.

We conclude with pointers for evaluating the ethical-political rigour of mixed methods, inter- and transdisciplinary, and co-production research, and discuss how such rigour might be supported in research projects, graduate training programmes and research organisations.

URL : Negotiating the ethical-political dimensions of research methods: a key competency in mixed methods, inter- and transdisciplinary, and co-production research


Impact factions: assessing the citation impact of different types of open access repositories

Authors : Jonathan Wheeler, Ngoc‑Minh Pham, Kenning Arlitsch, Justin D. Shanks

Institutional repositories (IR) maintained by research libraries play a central role in providing open access to taxpayer-funded research products. It is difficult to measure the extent to which IR contribute to new scholarship because publisher self-archiving policies typically require researchers to cite the “version of record” of a manuscript even when an IR copy is accessed to conduct the research.

While some studies report an open access (OA) citation advantage resulting from the availability of self-archived or “green” OA manuscripts, few have sought to measure an OA citation effect of IR separately from disciplinary repositories, including arXiv and PubMed Central.

In this study, the authors present a bibliometric analysis examining correlations between search engine performance of items in IR, OA availability from different types of repositories, and citations. The analysis uses a novel, open dataset of IR access and usage derived from five months of Google search engine results pages (SERP) data, which were aggregated by the Repository Analytics and Metrics Portal (RAMP) web service.

Findings indicate that making OA copies of manuscripts available in self-archiving or “green” repositories results in a positive citation effect, although the disciplinary repositories within the sample significantly outperform the other types of OA services analyzed. Also evident is an increase in citations when a single manuscript is available in multiple OA sources.

URL : Impact factions: assessing the citation impact of different types of open access repositories


First Line Research Data Management for Life Sciences: a Case Study

Authors : J. Paul van Schayck, Maarten Coonen

Modern life sciences studies depend on the collection, management and analysis of comprehensive datasets in what has become data-intensive research. Life science research is also characterised by having relatively small groups of researchers.

This combination of data-intensive research performed by a few people has led to an increasing bottleneck in research data management (RDM). Parallel to this, there has been an urgent call by initiatives like FAIR and Open Science to openly publish research data which has put additional pressure on improving the quality of RDM.

Here, we reflect on the lessons learnt by DataHub Maastricht, a RDM support group of the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in providing first-line RDM support for life sciences.

DataHub Maastricht operates with a small core team, and is complemented with disciplinary data stewards, many of whom have joint positions with DataHub and a research group. This organisational model helps creating shared knowledge between DataHub and the data stewards, including insights how to focus support on the most reusable datasets. This model has shown to be very beneficial given limited time and personnel.

We found that co-hosting tailored platforms for specific domains, reducing storage costs by implementing tiered storage and promoting cross-institutional collaboration through federated authentication were all effective features to stimulate researchers to initiate RDM.

Overall, utilising the expertise and communication channel of the embedded data stewards was also instrumental in our RDM success. Looking into the future, we foresee the need to further embed the role of data stewards into the lifeblood of the research organisation, along with policies on how to finance long-term storage of research data.

The latter, to remain feasible, needs to be combined with a further formalising of appraisal and reappraisal of archived research data.

URL : First Line Research Data Management for Life Sciences: a Case Study


Multi-Stakeholder Research Data Management Training as a Tool to Improve the Quality, Integrity, Reliability and Reproducibility of Research

Author : Jukka Rantasaari

To ensure the quality and integrity of data and the reliability of research, data must be well documented, organised, and described. This calls for research data management (RDM) education for researchers.

In light of 3 ECTS Basics of Research Data Management (BRDM) courses held between 2019 and 2021, we aim to find how a generic level multi-stakeholder training can improve STEM and HSS disciplines’ doctoral students’ and postdoc researchers’ competencies in RDM. The study uses quantitative, descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse respondents’ self-ratings of their competencies, and a qualitative grounded theory-inspired approach to code and analyse course participants’ feedback.

Results: On average, based on the post-course surveys, respondents’ (n = 123) competencies improved one point on a four-level scale, from “little competence” (2) to “somewhat competent” (3). Participants also reported that the training would change their current practices in planning research projects, data management and documentation, acknowledging legal and data privacy viewpoints, and data collecting and organising.

Participants indicated that it would be helpful to see legal and data privacy principles and regulations presented as concrete instructions, cases, and examples. The most requested continuing education topics were metadata and description, discipline specific cultures, and backup, version management, and storage.

Conclusions: Regarding to the widely used criteria for successful training containing 1) active participation during training; 2) demand for RDM training; 3) increased participants’ knowledge and understanding of RDM and confidence in enacting RDM practices; and 4) positive post-training feedback, BRDM meets the criteria.

This study shows that although reaching excellent competence in a RDM basics training is improbable, participants become aware of RDM and its contents and gain the elementary tools and basic skills to begin applying sound RDM practices in their research.

Furthermore, participants are introduced to the academic and research support professionals and vice versa: Stakeholders will get to know the challenges that young researchers and research students encounter when applying RDM. The study reveals valuable information on doctoral students’ and postdoc researchers’ competencies, the impact of education on competencies, and further learning needs in RDM.

URL : Multi-Stakeholder Research Data Management Training as a Tool to Improve the Quality, Integrity, Reliability and Reproducibility of Research